Posted by: Ian Bruk | June 12, 2007

Canadian Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs mistaken on Rule of Law

Jim Prentice, The Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, wrote a piece in the National Post entitled: “Pursuing justice for Aboriginals“. In the piece he brings up the “Rule of Law” and references a Supreme Court of Canada decision which called the rule of law “a fundamental postulate of our constitutional structure”.

He goes on to say “Those who act outside the law must bear the consequences of their actions” and “Just as rule of law imposes an obligation upon each of us to govern our actions according to the law”. Further on: “I am confident that our reforms, which the government will announce very shortly, will go a long way to addressing the concerns and frustrations of First Nations. The process these reforms establish will be built upon respect for the rule of law. So, too, must be the conduct of all Canadians, aboriginal and non-aboriginal alike.”

Again the Rule of Law does not mean being a law abiding citizen. From the Wikipedia definition:

The rule of law is the principle that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedure. The principle is intended to be a safeguard against arbitrary governance.

I find it little ironic that the government, or a minister of the government, is using the expression “Rule of Law” in an effort to villanize a small minority calling for illegal acts on the “National Day of Action”. The irony continues as the frustrations of this small minority of First Nations seems to stem from the government not respecting agreements and treaties –  treaties being “agreements under international law“. From the article above Manitobe Chief Terry Nelson is quoted as saying:

He alleges that numerous agreements between his community and the government have been ignored, including a 1996 land entitlement treaty.



  1. Check out these two articles at

    I think these will explain a lot about who has the authority according to international law.

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